EXTRA-ordinary Folks

     Both of my grandfathers were railroad workers. Each man lived in cities where steel was king. Clarence and Roy were markedly different from one another yet had one thing in common. They were ordinary laborers.
Each of them worked hard, long hours for little money. However, their grit and determination helped place food on the family table, while producing materials that ultimately would end the threat of Hitler’s Fascist dream of world domination.
     I feel most comfortable around ordinary people. I understand how they think and the way they talk. Perhaps that’s why I am drawn to the final chapter of Israel’s genealogy in First Chronicles Nine.
     After naming some of the muckety mucks from the tribe of Levi, a list of the common folk follow. Levi was the son of Jacob. Levi’s descendants were tasked with the responsibility of maintaining the Tabernacle, and sometime later, the Temple. From the outset a pecking order was established. Priests were at the top of the organizational chart. Only priests could offer sacrifices to Yahweh.
     However, the remaining Levitical orders were expected to perform less glorious duties. Some were responsible for cleaning the dishes. Others stood guard duty. A few sang in the choir. None of their work was widely recognized. Much of their vocation was carried out behind the scenes. Yet apart from labors, daily life within the greater community would have come to a halt.
     For one, I am grateful for the average Joe’s and Josie’s of the world, particularly during these last two months. They have checked out our groceries. They have picked up our trash. They have tended the sick and infirmed. They cut our grass, moved our furniture, and delivered our pizzas. They are the true heroes of this viral pandemic.
     So, join me in thanking these wonderful people in tangible ways. Tell the men and women who stock the shelves with merchandise how much you appreciate who they are and what they do. Offer a small token of gratitude to your pharmacist for dealing day in and day out with grumpy customers and stingy insurance companies. Put out a bottle of water for those who are maintaining our streets and roadways.
     Let the people who grind and toil (and during this crisis place their lives on the line) every day know their work has not gone unnoticed. Let these ordinary folks know how extraordinary they truly are. Life wouldn’t be the same without them.